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Monday 28th May 2018

Doctors' recruitment review

8th March 2007

The government is to review the recruitment process for junior doctors following a boycott by senior medics.

Consulting Room

A group of consultants in the West Midlands suspended their selection of candidates, arguing the system was unfair. Their actions have been supported by the British Medical Association, which said the current round of interviews should be suspended.

The group decided to halt interviews because they felt the system prevented them from appointing the best candidates to the 18 surgical training posts on offer. The doctors said the 80 candidates affected had been told and support the boycott.

Two years ago, changes were introduced to shave years off training, allowing junior medics to reach consultant level much quicker. Currently it takes 14 years on average, the changes were meant to bring this down to 11 years.

This has meant an increase in those now applying for specialist posts, with up to 30,000 doctors now competing for 22,000 posts. Those who fail to get a post will face unemployment and many have said they will leave the NHS.

Separately a group of more than 100 hospital consultants in Norfolk wrote to the Daily Telegraph newspaper protesting over the system which meant ‘many of the most capable doctors’ had not even been called for interview.

Doctors feel the new system failed to identify expertise and was badly organised, with consultants struggling to find time to shortlist applicants fairly.

The Department of Health said interviews should continue until the results of the review are known at the end of March. It is hoped any changes will be implemented before the second round of recruitment in April, providing a second chance for those applicants who failed to secure interviews.

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